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Cooking pork loin for a catering job

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

My wife and I are doing pork loin for a catering job this weekend, and when we sat down to plan the schedule for the job, we realized that there may be a problem with oven space.  I thought I would seek some advice from professionals.smile.gif

 

Some background:

 

We do this job every year and it has always been successful, but a little difficult.  The event is held at a rather large house out in the middle of nowhere.  There is a large house with double ovens, and an event center with a standard oven.  We serve appetizers ahead of time for about an hour, then serve the food off a buffet.  There are about 60 people this year.

 

The dinner menu is pork loin (not tenderloin) and scalloped potatoes.  I think we can do the potatoes in the kitchen and keep them in cambros for the party, but I don't think we can do the same with the pork loin; I think I need to do them on site, which is going to be stretching the ovens to their limits.

 

So the question for the experts: Do you think it is possible to cook the pork loin ahead of time, that morning, and then just reheat it in the ovens on site?  Or will that hopelessly dry it out?  The pork loin has a breaded crust, so I don't think that I can slice it and reheat it in pans as the breading will probably dry out.

 

Any ideas, or am I just stuck doing the pork on site?

 

Thanks

 

Michael

post #2 of 10

 I'm not sure why you think it would be a stretch to the limit to cook onsite; with that kind of setup, I would think you

could handle loin for 60 in one batch, two tops.

And why would you want to reheat in the ovens you can just fresh cook in? That would be as much work, 

(more actually) with inferior results.

But if you do cook beforehand, I would def prefer the cook-and-hold to the reheat option.

You didnt say what time the event is--assuming it's dinner, I wouldnt feel comfy holding it for more than a few hours,

that would put the cook-off at 2pm or so for a 5 to 6pm service..

 

But even that is also dependent on the pork itself you're using, i.e., marbling/fat  content etc.

Lean pork is tougher to keep moist at hold, and as it's breaded its obviously not going to be doused in sauce.

 

As to the breading drying out.....bit of a trade off there, reheat vs holding in cambros.

The breading wont dry out in the cambro--if anything it'll get soggy, which aint good either.

If you were to hold in chaffers, meat should be cooked minimum temp to avoid drying at hold, but

again you might be soggifying your purty breading from the moisture.

 

Best choice: utilize those double ovens, cook to finsh an hour or less before service.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm just trying to cover all of my bases.  I'm figuring loin will feed 10 people, plus another in case someone comes back for a second round.  So two loins per pan, one pan in each of the ovens in the main house, one pan in the event center with two loins, and one pan in the same oven with one loin.  We typically arrive at 5:00 and the dinner buffet starts at 7:00, so we have two hours to get the ovens heated and get the food unloaded and cooking.  With an hour of cook time, plus twenty minutes of rest, assuming the ovens all work as they should (always a gamble when they aren't my ovens, I have too many stories), and then the pans with two loins each, so maybe longer cooking times, that doesn't leave much room for error.  In my mind, anything I can do in advance saves me headache on the job.

 

Thanks for the advice.  I think I know how what I need to do now.

 

Michael

post #4 of 10

see about getting there earlier......

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 10

That IS a tight cook schedule. Me, if earlier not an option I wouldve talked em into something other than sliced pork loin,

something that transports/reheats better, something braised maybe, or at least in SOME kinda gooey.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Here's an update. I decided to roll the dice and cooked the pork loin the night before and then sliced it the day of the job. It turned out to be a good decision. We got stuck in traffic and arrived later than we planned. Then discovered that two of the ovens had fewer racks than they did last year, and one of the ovens was not heating properly, about 100F lower than it registered. Fortunately I checked, but only after I noticed that the pork was not ready when I expected it to be. Then the guests arrived fifteen minutes early for dinner. We managed to pull it off, and overall the event was a success.

We were able to give our staff some food, as well as the household staff and have some to-go dinners for the guests to take home (some guests did not show, many ate less that we expected) and we received good responses from the organizers.

We ended up cooking for almost 24 hours straight to get everything done, but we pulled it off. We tried to sell them on something easier, but they wanted something "elegant" and on a budget. We've been doing the vent for five years, so we had to fit in their budget. But we also learned from the experience and next year they will most definitely not get pork loin.

Thanks for all of the advice and support. It really went a long way toward giving us a confidence boost.

Michael
post #7 of 10

Well thank you for the update. Sounds like you followed your instincts and it paid off.

Glad we could help.

 

-Meez

post #8 of 10

Welcome to the wonderful world of off premise catering.... You never know what to expect, but you compensate.for any mishaps.anyway you can.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #9 of 10
Quote:

Welcome to the wonderful world of off premise catering.... You never know what to expect 

Hah! No truer words hath ever been uttered by mortal man!

post #10 of 10

You could have sous vide your pork and then chilled it. Once on site you could sear the meat and put it in a hot box before serving.

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